Dynamics of Terrorism

  • Hamilton L
  • Hamilton J
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Abstract

There are important controversies over the dynamics of terrorism which have not yet been formally addressed in quantitative social research. We suggest a class of stochastic models for social contagion which may help to shed light on these controversies. Empirical estimates of model parameters were obtained from data on international terrorism in 16 countries over 1968-78. We find some evidence suggesting that the tendency of acts of terrorism to incite further violence is more easily reversed in less democratic, poorer, and less well- educated societies. This suggests that reversal of a terrorism 'epidemic' is more likely under conditions facilitating repression rather than reform, and that more open societies face particular difficulties in responding to terrorism effectively. I.

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Authors

  • Lawrence C Hamilton

  • James D Hamilton

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